A reader writes:
I am a manager of a two small departments. I have asked on numerous occasions for the employees to not belch. I find it to be unprofessional and rude. This one particular employee does it constantly throughout the day. They aren't loud belches, but ones that are heard loud enough to get under my skin. What would your next step be?
I have to admit that I'm posting this in part because it cracked me up.
First, realize that some medical conditions make people burp uncontrollably. If that's the case here, you've just got to live with it.
But assuming that's not the case and you just have employees who enjoy burping audibly throughout the day: If we're talking about once a day or something like that, let it go. If it's truly a constant thing, and you're determined to stop it, well, you've got authority. Rather than trying to cajole them into stopping, instead figure out what you're willing to do about it. Maybe you want to tell them that their behavior creates the perception that they're unprofessional and is disruptive when people are on the phone or trying to focus. Maybe you want to tell them that their performance reviews and raises take professionalism into consideration, and this will play into that. Maybe you want to lay down the law and tell them the juvenile antics need to stop, period, and consider it insubordination if they don't stop. Or maybe you want to do nothing.
But frankly, it's so hard for me to imagine professional employees intentionally burping "constantly" throughout the day that I have to wonder if this doesn't speak to a larger issue with them.